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Confederate SaboteursConfederate Saboteurs

Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War

Mark K. Ragan

Narrated by Luke Rounda

Approximately 10 hours


Downloadable edition:

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Book published by Texas A&M University Press

Facing an insurmountable deficit in resources compared to the Union navy, the Confederacy resorted to unorthodox forms of warfare to combat enemy forces.

Perhaps the most energetic and effective torpedo corps and secret service company organized during the American Civil War, the Singer Secret Service Corps, led by Texan inventor and entrepreneur Edgar Collins Singer, developed and deployed submarines, underwater weaponry, and explosive devices.

The group’s main government-financed activity, which eventually led to other destructive inventions such as the Hunley submarine and behind-enemy-line railroad sabotage, was the manufacture and deployment of an underwater contact mine. During the two years the Singer group operated, several Union gunboats, troop transports, supply trains, and even the famous ironclad monitor Tecumseh fell prey to its inventions.

In Confederate Saboteurs: Building the Hunley and Other Secret Weapons of the Civil War, submarine expert and nautical historian Mark K. Ragan presents the untold story of the Singer corps. Poring through previously unpublished archival documents, Ragan also examines the complex personalities and relationships behind the Confederacy’s use of torpedoes and submarines.

Mark K. Ragan served as project historian during the recovery and excavation of the history-making Civil War submarine, the Hunley, as well as consultant for the 1999 Turner Network Television movie about the vessel.


“A compelling look and insightful history of the intrigue surrounding the Singer family and their secretive espionage operations for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Mark Ragan reveals a new level of submarine warfare to conspiracy buffs. Nonfiction at its best.”

—Clive Cussler, American adventure novelist and founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency

“A comprehensive look at the Singer Corps and their activities. It provides a new context for the submarines and torpedoes, and it incorporates significant research in primary sources. Ragan adds a new perspective to Texas’ role in the Confederacy.”

—James P. Delgado, author of Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns, and Pearls

“A skillfully crafted in-depth study of a very difficult subject to research, Confederate Saboteurs is an important new addition to the naval and covert operations histories of the Civil War.”

Civil War Books and Authors

Confederate Saboteurs is a scholarly and fascinating look at a little known, but important subject. Any reader interested in naval history or the role of Texas in the Civil War will want to add this book to their bookshelf.”

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“This is a great book about the Civil War and unconventional warfare. If you are a military or naval historian, you need to read this book.”

The Journal of America’s Military Post

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University Press Audiobooks